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India vs England, 4th Test Review: Pant-astic India thump England to march into the WTC Final

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It only took three days for a dominant Indian team to triumph over the Englishmen at the Narendra Modi Stadium in the final test. Rishabh Pant played an inning worthy of cherishing while Washington Sundar came agonizingly close to a hundred. With the ball, it was the Axar Patel & Ravi Ashwin show again as India registered a comprehensive victory of an inning and 25 runs.

Rishabh Pant scored 101 runs off just 118 balls in a game-changing inning by India’s X-factor player | Image Source: Wisden Twitter

After England won the toss and elected to bat first, the visitors were expected to make a good start to take some impetus with them in the match. Agonizingly for England, Axar Patel got the openers out early before Mohammed Siraj got into the act taking the wickets of Root and Bairstow and putting India in the ascendancy as English were languishing at 78/4 just after the Lunch break.

Ben Stokes scored a decent half-century at a time when Ashwin and Axar were finding it difficult to get into their usual groove. It was India’s wild card in Washington Sundar who stepped it up for the hosts when he got Ben Stokes out to end his partnership. Ollie Pope and Dan Lawrence looked good on the crease but Ashwin & Axar brought back their magical spells to wrap the England inning up at 205 post-tea on Day 1.

India lost Shubman Gill early on to James Anderson but Cheteshwar Pujara and Rohit Sharma showed the required resilience to take India safely to 24/1 at the end of Day 1 as they looked all set to take a significant lead on Day 2 of the test match with the plethora of batting talent to follow Pujara and Rohit.

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While Indian fans woke up expecting their team to outclass England on the second day of the test match, England’s generational talent Ben Stokes shattered those ambitions early on. After Cheteshwar Pujara fell yet again to Jack Leach, it was Ben Stokes who nicked Virat Kohli out to his doppelganger Ben Foakes as the Indian captain was dislodged without troubling the scorers. James Anderson who was deprived of the ever-elusive wicket of the Indian captain got the Indian vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane after he seemed to be building a solid partnership with his fellow Mumbaikar Rohit Sharma.

India’s heartbeat Rishabh Pant walked into the middle with the score at 80/4 with the pressure of being 125 runs behind the English total. Pant and Rohit looked an instant hit as the duo came together after Lunch on Day 2 and looked to be building a significant partnership. It was that man Ben Stokes again for England who came up with a darting in-dipper which left Rohit in no shape whatsoever to play the ball and got him LBW on 49 with India being 121/5 and in a spot of bother.

Rishabh Pant and Washington Sundar had been the heroes in that famous day at the Gabba and the duo had set sight on yet another milestone. While Sundar was looking solid, Rishabh Pant was cautious against his grain and ground it out until he completed his half-century. What was to follow was just Rishabh Pant in a nutshell! He took on the English bowlers as they approached the second new ball period with Stokes, Leach, and Bess being out of their depth.

Rishabh Pant gave a warm welcome to James Anderson with the new ball with a boundary right over mid-off and then a reverse sweep of an in-swinger that left Anderson bamboozled who had no place to hide. Pant kept on his merry way as he smashed a six to reach his incredible hundred. Anderson had the last laugh as Pant in his aggression got caught at mid-wicket.

Axar Patel and Washington Sundar took India safely to stumps and kicked off the proceedings on the third day. Washington played some shots that left everyone in awe while Axar gave a true account of himself with the bat. With Washington on 96, Axar got run-out and India lost three wickets in six balls in a heart-break for the wonderful all-rounder from Tamil Nadu as he ended up being strangled at the other end on 96 with the Indian innings ending at 365 with a humongous lead of 160 runs.

Axar Patel and Ravi Ashwin took 27 and 32 wickets in the series respectively | Image Source: BCCI Twitter

England were back on their unwanted dancing trail against spin once again with a 160-run monkey on their back. Crawley and Bairstow fell together in an over to Ravi Ashwin while Shubman Gill came up with a Messi-Esque assist to ensure Sibley was caught off Axar’s bowling by Rishabh Pant. The writing was on the wall as Ben Stokes & Ollie Pope were dismissed cheaply by Axar Patel before Ashwin put the final nail in the English coffin after getting Root out LBW. Ben Foakes and Dom Bess wickets ensured that Axar Patel got another 5-wicket haul much to the joy of his captain who was eager to finish the game quickly.

Dan Lawrence showed great determination as he scored a 50 after missing out in the last inning but Ashwin wrapped up the tail with him also ending up with 5 wickets in the inning as the English batting collapsed rather characteristically for 135 and gave India a massive victory by an inning and 25 runs. Rishabh Pant was the deserved Man of the Match while with 32 wickets and a century to his name, India’s evergreen match-winner Ravichandran Ashwin was awarded the Man of the Series.

The victory ensured that India made it to the WTC Final at Lords facing familiar foes New Zealand in what promises to be a cracker of a final in June. Tune into The Sports Doyen for all the coverage of the Limited over series between India and England in what promises to be a cracking end to the tour.

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